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Forests go far beyond British Columbia; they cover 1/3 of the Earth’s land surface. Forestry graduate students learn from a dynamic and diverse group of researchers who educate and communicate how forests and forest products contribute to the well-being of all living things. The health and sustainability of forests and the people who depend on them underlies everything we do.

The Faculty of Forestry is one of the top institutions globally in forest-related education and research. The unique breadth of expertise we possess allows us to integrate new knowledge across many disciplines. Offering both master’s and doctoral programs, our graduate students learn from a dynamic and diverse group of researchers from around the world.


Research Facilities

The Forest Sciences Centre is a showcase for construction using Canadian forest products, and was architecturally designed to mimic the landscape of British Columbia: towering trees, mountains, and blue-green waters. The 17,505-square-metre Forest Sciences complex has 11 classrooms, 2 lecture theatres, teaching laboratories, office space, computer labs, study areas, and a cafeteria, and houses the Faculty’s three departments.

Built alongside the Forest Sciences Centre is the 3,730-square-metre Centre for Advanced Wood Processing. It is Canada’s national centre of excellence for education and research related to wood products processing and advanced wood products manufacturing, and works to advance knowledge that fosters job creation, stabilizes forest-dependent communities, encourages increased value recovery, and ensures the sustainable management of Canada’s forests. This building includes two 25-seat classrooms, a machine lab, a simulator lab and a computer lab.

Within the Faculty of Forestry, there are also several research groups. Visit the website of each project to find out more.

Off-campus facilities include two Research Forests: the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge and the Alex Fraser Research Forest near Williams Lake. These are working forests located throughout the province where students and faculty can study in an outdoor setting. Fish and wildlife, silviculture, forest harvesting, forest ecology, forest management, and resources management figure prominently in these field studies.

Research Highlights

UBC Forestry is turning out a new generation of foresters, and faculty are committed to meeting future challenges in forestry through in-depth, cutting edge research. In fact, UBC Forestry receives the highest level of forestry research funding of any forestry faculty in Canada.

In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, members of the Faculty Forestry were awarded a total of over $12 million in research funding. 

Our wide breadth of research includes topics such as tree rings, integrated remote sensing, bioenergy, forest conservation genetics, landscape visualizations, African forest conservation and development, alpine studies, climate change, and advanced wood processing.

Recent Publications

This is an incomplete sample of recent publications in chronological order by UBC faculty members with a primary appointment in the Faculty of Forestry.


Recent Thesis Submissions

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation Program
2017 Dr. Gorzelak studied belowground communication through mycorrhizal (or fungal) networks between Douglas-fir trees. She demonstrated that communication signals were preferentially transferred between genetically related, or kin Douglas-fir seedlings. This work suggests that trees may be able to recognize and respond to kin. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Trees are rooted to the spot and evolutionarily adapted to local climates. Dr. MacLachlan found that tree breeding programs increase tree growth and maintain climatic adaptation, without compromising provincial reforestation policies designed to mitigate the effects of climate change, and they help to maintain future timber supplies in western Canada. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Dr. Tomaselli explored different mental models and attitudes about economic growth and the environment among Canadians. A majority of the sampled population supports moving into an economic model based on lower levels of consumption. This research supports the development of political discourses less focused on economic growth as a main goal. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Dr. Rickbeil assessed how changing environmental conditions are affecting barren ground caribou habitat use and movement in the Canadian Arctic. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Dr. Zhang evaluated the seismic performance of a novel mass timber-steel hybrid high-rise system. This research serves as a precursor for developing design guidelines for tall wood-hybrid building systems in seismic regions, and providing appropriate information to increase the acceptance and use of this mass-timber steel hybrid high-rise structural concept. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Wood and plants release inhibitors that prevent enzymes from breaking them down into valuable chemicals. Dr. Zhai developed a feasible way to eliminate these inhibitors and boost the function of enzymes. This work showed how a likely industrial bioconversion process could be enhanced. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Dr. Erickson researched the effects of warming and human activity on forests in Alberta. He found that human activity changed forest fires in a way that may slow tree migrations while reducing understory light. His work was the first to combine dynamic vegetation modeling and machine learning, which may broadly benefit earth systems modeling. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 The extent to which tropical forests change after the harvesting of trees is not clear. Dr. Addo-Danso's research showed that the forest structure, biomass and productivity in a tropical forest in Ghana recovered to pre-harvesting levels 54 years after the trees were cut. His findings have important implications for the management of tropical forests. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Dr. Jaung studied certification of forest ecosystem services. His findings show the opportunities and challenges of applying certification to ecosystem services management. His work contributes to analyzing comprehensive management of forest resources. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)
2017 Dr. Dou studied the use of enzymes to facilitate converting paper pulp into dissolving pulp used to make textiles. She identified optimal conditions for enzymes and increased their potential in dissolving pulp. Her findings have important implications on the production of regenerated cellulose used in man-made fibers such as Tencel. Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry (PhD)